evidence: an overview
Rules of evidence are, as the name indicates, the rules by which a court determines what evidence is admissible at trial. In the U.S., federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, while state courts generally follow their own rules. See, for example California's evidence rules, Indiana's evidence rules, or Washington's evidence rules. State rules of evidence are generally imposed by the state legislature upon the state courts.
In establishing what evidence is admissible, many rules of evidence concentrate first on the relevancy of the offered evidence. See, for example Article IV of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Rules of evidence also allocate among the parties the burden of producing evidence and the burden of persuading the court. See, for example Article III of the Federal Rules of Evidence or Division 5 of the California Evidence Code.
The Federal Rules of Evidence also address the admissibility of hearsay, oral testimony, and Article V of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Division Eight of the California Evidence Code.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony of witnesses, documents, photographs, items of damaged property, government records, videos, and laboratory reports. Strict rules limit what can be properly admitted as evidence, but dozens of exceptions often mean that creative lawyers find a way to introduce such testimony or other items into evidence. (See: admissible evidence
, inadmissible evidence
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:15 pm